Centralization and Decentralization — and Me, and Us

Though I applauded Donald Trump’s cancellation of the TPP trade deal, I also notice myself bristling at his continuous invocation of nationalism and “America first” as where I’m supposed to put my allegiance. Check this out:

Redefining Patriotism for a World of Corrupt Nation States

So-called “patriotism,” frankly, makes me want to throw up.

Moreover, I also notice myself bristle when I see that the state of Indiana is now attempting to place AirB&B under state rather than local control.

Zeroing in further, on right here, right now, I notice myself bristle when the city of Bloomington’s zoning rubs up against what we want to do in our neighborhood.

All I can say is, when in doubt, decentralize! Get back to our roots! Localize! Only we who live here understand the way this place works — wherever that is. The more we humans try to universalize anything, the more abstract the laws and theories, the greater their failure in taking into account local details that make all the difference.

And yet, I’m not a “libertarian” either. I know that some people are just out for themselves, and will run all over others in order to get what they want. Moreover, roads do need to be maintained. But at what level? Communication systems also. But again, at what level. But what else, really? The bloated American military industrial complex exists not to protect America but to protect and enhance profits of weapons manufacturers who finance both sides of any wars they can manage to drum up.

Indeed, what laws are appropriate, and when? At what levels of abstraction in the body politic? How much “government” do we really need?

I have no idea. All I know is the increasing centralization of power is worrisome, that it may be dissolving, and that the sooner the better.

Why Fragmentation is the Solution, not the Problem

On the other hand, is it really dissolving? Here’s another point of view:

5 signs the matrix of control is rapidly evolving

Let’s do a thought experiment.

What if we see the map of the U.S. as a map of various countries, each of them the size of one that already exists elsewhere:

Better yet, let’s look again at the U.S., in terms of various visions of its bioregions. Here are two:

I would much rather think of myself as an inhabitant of, say the Ohio River Valley than of the United States. Place-based. Yes. Speaking of which, here’s a new website for a new organization that also serves as a regional hub for the Permaculture Institute of North America. I love the way the title just rolls off the tongue.

Great Rivers and Lakes Permaculture Institute

Of course, at some point, the same critique of “centralization” might be directed against permaculture! We are all engaged in eternal dance of the struggle between the One and the Many. Let us always remember to hold, and honor, both in our minds at once.




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2 Responses to Centralization and Decentralization — and Me, and Us

  1. CindyW says:

    Eight or nine years ago, I used to correspond with Thomas Naylor of the Second Vermont Republic http://vermontrepublic.org/ (someone had given me a copy of The Vermont Independent, and they mentioned Naylor) http://www.vermontindependent.org/. He was a friend of George Kennan (for whom I think I remember you have some respect) and believed that as in the Russian Federation, collapse would be triggered by heavy government spending on military to the exclusion of other needs. He really believed in secession and was not a right-winger at all – former econ professor who was not at all of the “Chicago School”. And bioregions make much more sense, as well, in terms of understanding the effects of our actions on the natural world.

    • Ann Kreilkamp says:

      Yes bioregional understanding really does connect us to place, unlike the artificial maps we construct with straight lines and mostly hard right angles.

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